No Manchester United offer for Kroos, insists agent

The midfielder’s representative has laughed off suggestions that the Premier League giants have offered a big-money deal and insists his client will stay with Bayern Munich

Toni Kroos’ agent Volker Struth has insisted that the Bayern Munich midfielder has not received a big-money offer from Manchester United.

The Premier League champions are keen admirers of the Germany international and are hopeful of luring him away from his current club this summer, with initial talks over a possible deal having begun in Munich during the Champions League clash.

A recent report suggested that United have offered Kroos an annual salary of €16 million, but Struth has made it clear there has not been an official offer and has ruled out a summer exit.

“There has not been any official contract offer [from Manchester United],” Kroos’ representative told Bild.

“And there is absolutely no need to table an official bid either because Toni will stay with Bayern Munich at least until 2015.”

The 24-year-old has a contract with Bayern until June 2015 and head coach Pep Guardiola stressed on Tuesday that the Bavarians are keen to hold on to the midfielder beyond the expiry date of his existing deal.

Nevertheless, contract renewal talks have so far been unfruitful and Kroos has refused to rule out leaving Bayern for a move abroad.

Manchester City top Madrid and Barca as kings of world sports salaries

A new study has claimed that the Premier League giants are the globe’s biggest paymasters, outstripping Real Madrid and Barcelona

Manchester City players are the best-paid sportsmen in the world, according to a new survey.

The English League Cup winners came in top of Sporting Intelligence’s 2014 Global Sports Salaries Survey, with their first-team squad members reported to earn an average annual wage of €5,864,675 over the course of 2013-14. Real Madrid are football’s second highest paymasters, paying their players almost €5.5m per year on average, while Barcelona come third with a mean first-team salary of just under €5.4m.

The Manchester outfit are the only sports club in the world paying more than renowned baseball giants New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers, with Madrid and Barca the fourth and fifth across all sports.

THE PAY LEAGUE | Sport’s biggest wage bills
1 Manchester City
Football €5,864,675
2 New York Yankees Baseball €5,810,543
3 Los Angeles Dodgers
Baseball €5,627,073
4 Real Madrid
Football €5,488,391
5 Barcelona
Football €5,387,198
6 Brooklyn Nets
Basketball €4,930,297
7 Bayern Munich
Football €4,840,030
8 Manchester United
Football €4,751,643
9 Chicago Bulls
Basketball €4,381,386
10 Chelsea Football €4,380,101
11 Arsenal Football €4,288,906
12 New York Knicks Basketball €4,245,234

Source: Sporting Intelligence

Bayern Munich are the only other non-Premier League club to be included in the top 12 of the survey, with their players collecting the seventh-highest salaries in sport. Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal also made the dozen clubs on the list.

While Real Madrid and Barcelona have some of the world’s most well-known players on their books in the shape of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi respectively, Manchester City have a string of high-earning stars on their wage bill. Yaya Toure, Sergio Aguero and David Silva are all reported to be earning more than €250,000 per week, bumping up their first-team average to a weekly wage of €112,000.

Guardiola: I want Kroos to stay

The Bayern boss is determined to keep hold of the midfielder following rumours linking him with a summer move, while he is unfazed by criticism after his side’s recent loss to BVB

Bayern Munich head coach Pep Guardiola has insisted that he wants Toni Kroos to remain at the Bundesliga club amid rumours linking the midfielder with a move to Manchester United in the summer.

Kroos, who has made 45 appearances for Bayern this season, has been a pivotal player in his side’s success in winning the Bundesliga title and reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League and DFB-Pokal this season and Guardiola is determined to hold onto the 24-year-old.

“I want Toni to stay. Kalle [Rummenigge] and Matthias [Sammer] want him to stay as well,” Guardiola told reporters. “He is a superb player and can decide for himself. We want him to stay.”

Guardiola also accepted criticism following his side’s 3-0 defeat to Borussia Dortmund on Saturday, however he has brushed it off, insisting that he faced similar pressure at other clubs.

“It’s the same at all big clubs. You can’t imagine what it was like at Barcelona when we didn’t win. It’s the same at Milan, Real Madrid, too.

“It didn’t surprise me. I knew at my first press conference at the Allianz Arena that winning was the only option.

“I’m just here to help the players. I can’t always win – sorry, I’m not God.

“Losing against Dortmund made me realise how important the league is and how important games against are. I realised how painful the defeat was for the fans.

“When we are dominant, we play well and have a good structure. The opponent finds it difficult to counter, especially as I have very good defenders in my team.

“However, we have conceded too many goals lately and we must return as soon as possible to our usual game.

“Myself and the players know that we will not reach a final if we play like we have in the last three games.”


Manchester United make shock move for Barcelona midfielder Song

The Premier League champions are prepared to spend €15 million to land the former Arsenal star but face competition from Liverpool, AC Milan and Atletico Madrid

By Wayne Veysey | UK Correspondent

Manchester United have made a shock move for Barcelona midfielder Alex Song, Goal understands.

The Red Devils have indicated that they are willing to spend €15 million to land the former Arsenal star.

Liverpool, AC Milan and Atletico Madrid are also keeping close tabs on Song, who is expected to leave Camp Nou this summer, but Goal understands that United are in pole position to capture the Cameroon international as manager David Moyes steps up plans to reinforce his central midfield.

By Pilar Suarez | Goal Spain

Alex Song has been with Barcelona for two seasons but has failed to really cement his place in the team and is not thought to be a key player for the future.

Of course, everyone at Camp Nou is waiting on what will happen regarding Fifa’s transfer ban. For now, Xavi, Sergi Roberto, Cesc Fabregas, Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets provide good options but really the club need to strengthen, not weaken, their options in midfield so the result of their appeal against the ban could be key to sales as well as purchases this summer.

Moyes, who is also targeting Bayern Munich’s Toni Kroos and Sporting Lisbon’s William Carvalho, is an admirer of Song’s ability to anchor the midfield as well as fill in at centre-back.

The 26-year-old has appeared in 28 of Barcelona’s 53 matches in all competitions this season but has struggled to cement a regular first-team spot. He has started only 12 of the club’s 43 league and Champions League matches and is now prepared to call time on his spell at Barca even though he has three years remaining on his contract.

The Spanish giants are willing to cash in on the Cameroonian if they can recover most of the £15m fee that they paid Arsenal for him in the summer of 2012.

Fifa has imposed a transfer ban on Barcelona for the next two windows but this would not prevent the club from selling players.

Vice president Manel Arroyo said last week that Barca will appeal against the decision in a bid to get the ban suspended and that “our legal team is working so that we’ll be able to sign new players this summer”.

Song joined Arsenal from French club Bastia as an 18-year-old and spent seven years at the Emirates Stadium, where he established himself as a key component of Arsene Wenger’s midfield before following in the footsteps of Cesc Fabregas by moving to Barcelona.

Manchester United lead clubs' Hillsborough tributes to Liverpool

The Red Devils offer their support to the families of the victims as other Premier League teams also send messages of tribute on the 25th anniversary of the disaster

Manchester United led tributes from several English clubs on Tuesday to the 96 Liverpool fans who died at Hillsborough.

On the 25th anniversary of the disaster, United published an image on their official Twitter account to show their support for the families of the victims, in solidarity between the two rival clubs.

A memorial service is to be held at Anfield from 14.45BST, featuring readings from both Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers and Everton counterpart Roberto Martinez, with a minute’s silence set for 15.06BST, the time at which the game was stopped as a result of the fatal crush in 1989.

United | The Premier League rivals reach out to mark the tragedy’s 25th anniversary

Many other teams also sent messages of support. “Flags are at half-mast at the [Stadium of Light] as #SAFC pays its respects on the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster,” wrote Sunderland.

“Twenty-five years ago today, 96 [Liverpool] supporters went to a game but never came home,” said Everton. “We will never forget them #MerseysideUnited”

Chelsea, Manchester City, Southampton, Newcastle, Stoke City, West Ham, Crystal Palace, Swansea City and Cardiff City all also Tweeted similar sentiments.

Tuesday’s commemorations follow a weekend in which all English ties kicked off seven minutes late following a minute’s silence at every ground.